Estimating Actual Cost per Round by Caliber
This article comes from the USAMU, which provide shooting and reloading tips on its Facebook Page. This week’s USAMU TECH TIP outlines a ballpark-estimate method of calculating the actual cost per round of different calibers. Some applications, and some shooters, by virtue of their high level of competition, require the very best ballistic performance available — “Darn the cost, full speed ahead!
If you are in serious contention to win a major competition, then losing even a single point to inferior ballistic performance could cost you a national title or record. However, this “horsepower” does come at a cost! Some calibers are barrel-burners, and some offer much longer barrel life. Look at this comparison chart:
Estimated Cost Per Round by Cartridge Type
Below are some estimated total expense per round (practice and competition) based on component costs, type used, expected barrel life and a standard, chambered barrel cost of $520.00 across calibers.
5.56x45mm: $0.46/round (barrel life 6,000 rounds)*
6mmBR: $0.81/round (barrel life 2800 rounds)
6XC: $0.97/round (barrel life 2200 rounds)
.308 Win: $0.80/round (barrel life 4500 rounds)
6.5-284: $1.24/round (barrel life 1100 rounds)
*Note the high round count estimate for 5.56x45mm. This is a bit deceptive, as it assumes a period of “lesser accuracy” use. The USAMU says: “Much of the difference you see here between 5.56 and .308 is due to using the 5.56 barrel for 100-200 yard training with less-expensive, 55gr Varmint bullets after its long-range utility is spent”.
Moreover, while some applications require specialized, high-cost components, others do not. And, if the shooter is still relatively new to the sport and hasn’t refined his skill to within the top few percentile of marksmen, a more economical caliber choice can help stretch a limited budget. Translation: More skill per dollar!
In this post, the prices for all items mentioned here were taken from a major component supplier’s current advertisements, and all brass was of top quality, except in the case of 5.56mm. There, 200 top-quality, imported cases were reserved for 600-yard shooting, and the other brass used was once-fired Lake City surplus.
Cartridge cases were assumed to be loaded 10 times each. [Your mileage may vary…] Bullet prices assumed the use of less-expensive, but good-quality match bullets for the bulk of shooting as appropriate.
The cost of top-tier, highly-expensive match bullets was also calculated for a realistic percentage of the shots fired, based on ones’ application. Barrel life by caliber was taken from likely estimates based on experience and good barrel maintenance.
Brass Costs Based on 10 Loads Per Case
Often, handloaders may calculate ammunition cost per round by adding the individual costs of primers, powder charges and projectiles. Many don’t consider the cost of brass, as it is reloaded several times. Here, we’ll consider the cost of enough top-quality brass to wear out a barrel in our given caliber, at 10 loads per case, except as noted above.
Don’t Forget Amortized Barrel Costs
Few shooters factor in the full, true cost of barrel life. Depending on caliber, that can dramatically increase the cost per round. For example, consider a long-range rifle in 6.5/284 caliber. This cartridge performs amazingly well, but at a cost. Ballpark estimated barrel life [in a top-quality barrel] is 1100 rounds. Some wear out faster, some last longer, but this gives a rough idea of what to expect.
Accurate barrels are a joy to use, but they are an expendable resource!
A top-quality barrel plus installation was estimated at about $520.00. At 1100 rounds, barrel life adds $0.47 per round to our total cost. Thus, what had started out as an [components-only estimate, with brass cost] of $0.76/round now totals $1.24 per shot!
Cost Considerations When Choosing a Catridge Type
Some shooters might ask themselves if they could meet their present needs with a more economical caliber. If so, that equates to more practice and matches per available dollar, and more potential skill increase on the available budget.
Each shooter knows his skill level, practice needs, and shooting discipline’s requirements. Some might shoot NRA Service Rifle or Match Rifle using a 5.56mm with a long barrel life. Others might be Match Rifle shooters faced with choosing between, say, a 6mm BR vs. 6XC. A realistic assessment of ones needs, performance-wise, may help guide the shooter toward a caliber that’s most optimized to their needs at the moment.
Admittedly, the factors affecting cost for any individuals circumstances can vary significantly. However, hopefully this will provide one useful method of evaluating one’s training and competition choices, based on their skill, goals and needs.
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Do you carry a firearm for self-protection, or perhaps keep a handgun in a vehicle during trips? Then you should consider signing up for a new insurance/training program offered by the NRA. Launched this week, the NRA’s Carry Guard program offers up to $1,000,000 in insurance/legal protection. This is combined with a comprehensive training program.
The Carry Guard program offers a 24/7 hotline for members. You get immediate response to secure bail bonds, legal retainers, and counseling. Importantly you can choose your own attorney from a nationwide attorney referral network. Members get up to $1,000,000 in insurance-backed protection for legal fees and will receive emergency support services in case of a self-defense incident. Spouses of NRA Carry Guard members are automatically covered, as are family members who live with a Carry Guard member and defend themselves in the home.
Three levels of protection are offered, with affordable monthly payments. When you consider that the cost of defending a civil lawsuit could easily exceed $150,000 just in legal fees, it’s smart to have some kind of legal insurance plan.
Carry Guard Training
Carry Guard members can access a variety of video tutorials. In addition, CarryGuard offers three-day training programs that combine classroom sessions with range training. The focus is on the real-life scenarios you might face. “We apply those [gun-handling] fundamentals to real-life situations, self-defense tactics and techniques, low-light shooting, force-on-force Air Soft scenarios and more. Students are evaluated on a course of fire where only a passing score earns eligibility to move to the next level.”
It’s Friday, which means the Exhibit Hall of the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits opens today at 9:00 am! The big attraction will be the 800+ exhibitors in the Hall — including virtually all the big name firearms manufacturers, ammo/component makers, optics makers, and shooting accessory suppliers. Along with the exhibitors, there are seminars, workshops, special events, and celebrity meet and greets now through Sunday the 30th. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s happening today:
Regular Daily Events
NRA Booth, Booth #1912 National Firearms Museum, Booth #457 Pyramid Air – Air Gun Range, Room B309 Wall of Guns, Second Floor Hallway
NRA-ILA Leadership Forum (ticket required) Georgia World Congress Center, Hall A Doors open at 11:00am Event starts at 12:30 pm.
Do your hands/wrists get tired when prepping scores of cartridge cases? There’s an alternative to the big, costly case prep centers that occupy lots of space on your reloading bench. Little Crow Gunworks has developed a $29.95 hand tool that makes chamfering by hand much easier. You’ve got to watch this Precision Prep Tool in action — click on the VIDEO below to see Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com demonstrate how it works.
See How Tool Head Spins With Arm Movement — Very Clever!
With this tool, a natural motion of the forearm translates into rotary motion of the tool head (watch the video!). The tool-head holds four (4) tools: inside and outside neck chamfer tools, plus large and small primer pocket reamers. A hex adapter lets you use the primer pocket reamers with a power drill to remove the crimps on military brass.
Gavin Gear was impressed with this innovative device: “I’ll admit, I didn’t know how this tool worked until I tried it out, and it’s pretty amazing how something so simple can make such a big impact on a chore like brass prep. I’ve tried a lot of brass prep tools, and this is one smooth setup. I think the Precision Prep Tool is a good option for case prep chores, especially if you want to trim on the go, or sitting in your recliner watching TV.”
This is the first manually-operated case prep tool that puts four tools at your fingertips. Other single-head inline tools require the user to twist their wrist or rotate the tool in their hand. The PPT consists of a knurled solid aluminum handle with a bearing-mounted aluminum tool head. The tool head has four 8-32 tapped holes which accept case prep tools manufactured by most reloading companies. To use the tool, simply rotate your forearm in a clockwise motion to chamfer, deburr, or clean the primer pocket. Priced at $29.95, the tool comes in five (5) colors: Red, Blue, Green, Silver, and Black.
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Got a big shooting shopping list? Then here’s a great opportunity. Now through April 30th at 11:59 PM you can get $9.00 flat-rate shipping from Midsouth Shooters Supply, with a $99.00 minimum order. That can translate to significant savings on big orders, or heavy items. Compare the true shipping costs from other vendors to see what a good deal this can be (some vendors charge $15 to ship a couple boxes of ammo). Note: Regular hazmat charges apply to powder, primers, and other hazmat items.
If you’re shopping at Midsouth, here are some of the very good values you might want to check out:
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Mother of All LR Primer Tests
If you shoot a .308 Win, or any cartridge that uses a Large Rifle (LR) primer, you should read an important article by Laurie Holland in Target Shooter Magazine. Holland, a talented shooter from the UK, tested no less than sixteen (16) different large primer types using a custom F-TR target rifle shot from the bench. Laurie loaded .308 Win ammo* with 16 LR primer varieties and then tested for average velocity, ES/SD, and group size. This may be the most comprehensive and thorough LR primer test ever done. Here are the primer types tested:
1. CBC Magtech 9½
2. CCI 200 LR
3. CCI BR2 Match
4. CCI 250 Magnum
5. Federal 210
6. Federal 210M Match
7. Federal 215M Magnum Match
8. Fiocchi Large Rifle
9. Kynoch Large Rifle
10. Murom KVB-7 (PMC LR)
11. Norma Superflash LR
12. PMC LR Magnum
13. Remington 9½ LR
14. Remington 9½ M Magnum
15. Sellier & Bellot LR
16. Winchester WLR
Test Rig: Osprey Rifles-built F-TR rifle with Savage PTA action, 32″ Bartlein 1:12″-twist ‘Heavy Palma’ barrel, and Dolphin Gun Company modular stock with an F-Open/Benchrest fore-end.
Some of Laurie’s results may surprise you. For example, would you guess that Sellier & Bellot primers had the lowest ES, by a significant margin? And get this, among ALL the primers tested, Rem 9½M Magnum primers produced the lowest velocity, while Rem 9½ LR (non-magnum) primers yielded the highest velocity. (The total velocity spread for all primers was 35 fps). That’s counter-intuitive and it’s odd that Rems were at opposite ends of the speed spectrum among ALL primers tested.
“The rationale for doing side-by-side tests is to see what effect primer choice has on ballistics, i.e. average velocities and MV consistency. There are a great many views on the subject, a few based on tests (including primer flame photography) but most apparently hearsay.” — Laurie Holland
Every serious hand-loader should definitely read the full test results to understand Laurie’s methodology and get all the details. This is an important test, with significant findings. But if you can’t spare the time right now, here are some highlights below:
Primer with Lowest Velocity: Remington 9½ M Magnum (2780 fps)
Primer with Highest Velocity: Remington 9½ LR (2815 fps)
Primer with Lowest ES/SD: Sellier & Bellot LR (12/3.1 fps)
Primer with Highest ES/SD: Remington 9½ M Magnum (47/14.0 fps)
Primer with Smallest Group Size: Remington 9½ LR (0.43″ average, three 5-shot groups)
Primer with Biggest Group Size: CBC Magtech 9½ (0.7″ average, three 5-shot groups)
Editor’s Comment: Laurie shot three, 5-shot groups at 100 yards with each primer type. The average group size for the top six primers varied by only 0.10″ (0.43″ to 0.53″), so one can’t conclude that one type is much better than another. Total group size variance (from best to worst) was 0.27″.
“The biggest surprise to me … came from an elderly (at least 10 years) lot of Czech Sellier & Bellot standard caps with an ES of 12 and SD of 3.1 fps, way below those of the nearest competitor. By contrast to the Fiocchis, they were an almost slack fit in the cases and this may have contributed to their consistent performance.” — Laurie Holland
NOTE: Values in chart are based on 15-Shot strings. The ES/SD numbers will therefore be higher than is typical with five-shot strings.
All ES/SD Values from 15-Shot Strings
Testing 16 primer types was a huge task — we commend Laurie for his hard work and thoroughness. This extensive test is an important contribution to the “knowledge base” of precision shooting. Laurie’s findings will doubtless influence many hand-loaders who hope to produce more consistent ammunition, or achieve better accuracy. Credit should also be given to Target Shooter Magazine for publishing the results. Well done gentlemen…
*Reloading method for Test Ammo: “Test batches consisted of 16 or 17 rounds for each primer, charges thrown by an RCBS ChargeMaster and checked on lab-quality electronic scales, adjusted if necessary to within ± 0.04gn, so any charge weight variation would be under 0.1 grain which equates here to 5 fps.”
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All 10s and Xs for record — that’s a very impressive 200-10X score card for young Lynzie Graham.
Here’s a “feel-good” story about a talented young shooter. We like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the “rising stars” in our sport. Lynzie Graham, a member of the U.S. F-Class Under-25 Team recently shot a perfect 200-10X at 600 yards, not dropping a point. That’s particularly impressive when you consider Lynzie shot her 600-yard “clean” using a factory rifle — a Savage Arms .308 Win F-TR rig.
Congratulations Lynzie Graham on your first 600-yard “clean” at the Texas State Qualifier in February 2017. Lynzie was shooting the Sierra 180gr MatchKing® #2220 with her Savage F-TR .308 Win. This August, Lynzie and other U.S. F-Class U-25 Team members will be competing at the F-Class World Championships (FCWC) hosted at the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, Canada. Click image below for more information about the 2017 FCWC.
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Are you feeling lucky? Well here’s your chance to win a gun. Brownells is giving away one gun each day from April 28th through the 30th. This three-gun give-away is being offered in connection with the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta, Georgia. Brownells will have a large booth at the NRA Show, with VIP Guests including actor Lou Ferrigno and 3-Gun ace Janna Reeves.
In addition to the gun-a-day NRA Show promotion, this week Brownells is offering a special drawing for a high-tech IV 8888 AR-Platform rifle from Iraq Veterans. The IV 8888 rifle features high-end components such as carbon-fiber handguards and an Aimpoint optic.
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The shooting season is now in full swing. When you head to the range you’ll want to be prepared. That means collecting all the gear you’ll need at the range. It’s easy to forget small, critical items, so we’ve provided a checklist of the small “extras” you should pack before you head out to the range. In addition to rifle, rests, ammo, targets, and cleaning gear, here are a dozen essentials you should include in your range bag.
• Shell-Holder — If you don’t have calipers, you can use a shell-holder to check for excessive case expansion from hot loads. If a fired case doesn’t slip into the shell-holder easily, your load is definitely TOO HOT.
• Extra Earplugs — Always use ear protection when shooting. We bring a 35mm film canister with extra sets of foam earplugs.
• Hex Wrench or Screwdriver for action screws — Action screws can work loose with time. Always bring the appropriate hex wrench or screwdriver whenever you go to the range.
• Small Wrench for Scope Rings — Check the tension of your scope base and ring fasteners before you go. Bring along a small Torx wrench for the ring screws (or other tool that fits your fasteners).
• Normal and Under-sized Jags — It is often wise to use one-caliber undersize jags when applying solvent with cotton patches. You should have a couple sizes in your range kit.
• Extra Batteries — Bring extra batteries for all your electronic gear — which can include chronograph, windmeter, digital camera, GPS etc.
• Small Notebook and Pen or Pencil — Use the notebook to record chron data, log group sizes, and make notes about wind and weather conditions.
• Adhesive dots — Bring a few sheets of adhesive dots (sold at office supply stores). Use small white or black dots as target pasters. Use larger red or orange dots as aiming points (target centers).
• Folding Chair or Camp Stool — This comes in handy if you’re spotting for another shooter, or if you reload away from the firing line.
• Water Bottle — You can’t shoot well if you’re dehydrated. Bring at least two quarts of water with you and keep a bottle at the bench.
• Surveyors’ Tape and Wood Stakes — You can make inexpensive wind indicators using surveyors’ tape attached to the top of wood stakes.
• Small Plastic Ruler — Use this to measure your group sizes. A transparent (see-through) ruler works best. Rulers are also useful for drawing lines on targets.
This list is not intended to be exclusive. There are many other items you may wish to include. Obviously bring safety glasses, and Sharpie-type pens are always handy to mark targets. We invite our readers to add other “essentials” to the list. The important thing is to plan ahead, packing your key items before you drive to the range.
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The big NRA Convention in Atlanta is just two days away. The 146th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from April 27-30, 2017. 80,000+ people are expected to attend this 4-day event which will feature dozens of seminars, workshops, and special events. There are still tickets available for many of the most important events at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings. See links below:
GET EVENT TICKETS
Thursday April 27th
National NRA Foundation Banquet
Sponsored by Henry Repeating Arms, Century Arms and Kimber
Georgia World Congress Center Building B – 5 p.m.
Tickets start at $100 – Click here to purchase.
Friday, April 28th
20th Annual Firearms Law Seminar
Georgia World Congress Center – 8 a.m.
Tickets start at $50 – Click here to purchase.
NRA-ILA Leadership Forum
Sponsored by TownHall Media and Bearing Arms
Georgia World Congress Center Hall A3 – 12:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $10 – Click here to purchase.
When President Trump speaks at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on April 28th, it will be the first time a sitting president visits the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits since Ronald Reagan.
Sunday, April 30th
2017 National Prayer Breakfast
Brought to you by Fathers in the Field and sponsored by Trijicon and Universal Coin & Bullion.
Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center Grand Ballroom – 7 a.m.
Tickets start at $40 – Click here to purchase.
4th Annual NRA Women’s New Energy Breakfast
Georgia World Congress Center Room B405 – 9:30 a.m.
Tickets start at $15 – Click here to purchase
NAVIGATE THE CONVENTION HALL
In and around the Convention Hall there will be 15 acres of firearms, shooting and hunting gear, and other exhibits. There will also be an on-site airgun range. For more information about the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, including deals on hotels and airfare, show hours, exhibitors, maps, and much more, visit www.NRAAM.org.
Many of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?
For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading Glen Zedicker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following on Zedicker’s New AR-15 Competitive Rifle book (2008), the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zedicker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.
One of our Forum members who purchased the AR-15 Builders Guide confirms it is a great resource: “Much like any of the books Mr. Zediker puts out this one is well thought-out and is a no nonsense approach to AR building. I can not stress how helpful this book is from beginner to expert level.”
Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.” Creedmoor Sports sells this Zediker AR-15 book and many other excellent shooting books. Visit www.creedmoorsports.com/category/Books or call 1-800-CREEDMOOR.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
Here’s a great deal if you’re looking for a GEN2 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle for PRS events or other bolt-action tactical applications. The 6.5 Creedmoor is the hot ticket for this rifle, and RPRs with this chambering have been in short supply. You’ll find many sellers charging $1400.00+ for this rifle, if they have it at all.
This week you can get a GEN2 Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor for just $1168.01 from Kentucky Gun Company, with FREE Shipping to boot. The “Cash Price” price is even cheaper, $1133.99. And GunPrime.com also has the 6.5CM RPR for $1199.00 this week. Curious about the differences between the GEN2 Ruger Precision Rifle and the original Model? CLICK HERE for a complete spec comparison and a video (scroll down landing page).
2. Midsouth — Norma Tac-22 .22 LR Ammo, $3.99/box
This Norma .22 LR ammo shoots WAY better than you’d expect given the low price — just $3.99 per 50ct box at Midsouth. These test targets come from Champion Shooters Supply. That vendor reports: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.” We suggest you grab some of this Tac-22 while you can at these rock-bottom prices.
3. Natchez — Surplus SKB 5041 Transport Cases, $129.99
Natchez has obtained a supply of British MOD Surplus SKB 5041 rifle cases. These were ordered as mine detector cases, but were never issued. Natchez has removed the foam cut for the detectors and replaced it with new 2-piece convoluted foam. Interior dimension of the case is 50″x14.5″x5″ so this will hold long-barrel match rifles comfortably. These are extremely high-quality cases, very tough and rugged, waterproof with gaskets. These cases feature four SKB patented trigger latches, four reinforced padlock locations, and inline wheels. Though in excellent condition, some case may have minor exterior scuffs. You won’t find a better case at anywhere near the price. These normally retail for $299.99.
4. Sportsmans Outdoor — S&W M&P9 Shield, $239.99 after Rebate
Here’s an awesome deal on a popular Smith & Wesson 9mm carry pistol. The M&P9 Shield (with thumb safety) is priced at just $314.99 at Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore. But it gets better — Smith & Wesson is offering a $75.00 Rebate. That lowers your net cost to just $239.99. That’s half what you might pay for a similar 9mm Glock. Good reason to buy American, and S&W’s warranty is rock solid. NOTE: This same M&P9 pistol without thumb safety is offered by Brownells for $359.99, or $284.99 after mail-in rebate.
This is a very good spotting scope for the price. Yes it gives up some low-light performance to a spotter with an 80mm objective, but otherwise it is a good performer, and we can’t think of much that will touch this Vortex Diamondback spotting scope for anywhere near the $399.99 sale price. Choose from angled or straight version for the same $399.99 price, which includes the 20-60X zoom eyepiece.
6. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit, $67.99
This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $67.99 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.
7. Powder Valley — Reloder 16 Powder, 1-pound and 8-pound
Powder Valley now has Alliant Reloder 16 (RL16) in stock in both 1-lb ($23.95) and 8-lb ($178.95) containers. If you’re not familiar with this relatively new propellant, we can tell you that RL16 may be the best replacement yet for hard-to-find Hodgdon H4350. Burn rate is very similar to H4350, and RL16 is extremely temp-stable. Most importantly, our Forum members are reporting outstanding accuracy with Reloder 16. It is well suited for mid-sized cartridges such as 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .260 Remington. If you like H4350, we recommend you try a pound of Alliant’s impressive Reloder 16.
8. Monmouth Reloading — 500 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $35.00
500 pieces of Lake City brass for just thirty-five bucks? Yep, that’s a great deal for anyone who needs .223/5.56 brass for varmint safaris and tactical comps. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass sourced direct from the U.S. Military. NOTE: CLICK HERE and then select 500-ct pack — the 1000-ct is out of stock. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.
9. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $31.11
Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $31.11, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category.
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Tactical competitor Zak Smith stores his elevation and wind drift data on a handy laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the info in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out.
Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in Mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed in inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple.”
Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. Keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent “Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1″ article on Zak’s website.
Scope-Cover Mounted Ballistics Table
Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation drops easily without having to move out of shooting position.
Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”
Remington Arms Company celebrated its 200th year in business in 2016. The Remington enterprise was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. Remington is America’s oldest gun maker and is still the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles.
This week, Shooting USA TV spotlights Remington, exploring the company’s 200 years of continuous production. The show covers the rich history of Remington Arms Company, and focuses on many of the company’s most noted firearms.
The Shooting USA Hour Airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the Outdoor Channel:
Tuesday 3:00 PM
Wednesday 9:30 PM, 1:00 AM
Tuesday 2:00 PM
Wednesday 8:30 PM, Midnight
The Founding of a Great Enterprise
Eliphalet Remington II grew up in the countryside of Herkimer County, New York, learning the blacksmith trade. Eliphalet told his father he wanted a gun, so his father told him to build one himself. And, so he did in 1816 with the help of a hired gunsmith to bore and rifle his barrel. Eliphalet then took the finished flintlock to a local shooting match.
“And apparently it was a very successful barrel. His gun shot well,” says Remington Historian Richard Shepler. “So, neighbors, friends said, ‘ could you make me a barrel?’ Over time there was more and more demand.”
By 1828, Eliphalet moved into a factory in Illion, New York. In 1845, he jumped at the opportunity to buy the first of many government contracts. When the Civil War broke out, Remington stayed busy producing firearms. While later in the 1890s during peacetime, Remington manufactured cash registers, sewing machines, knives and even the first successful typewriter. The storied history continues, from the Remington Double Derringer to the Remington Model 700, unquestionably the most successful American sporting rifle.
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Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.
Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems
by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.
The cause can be traced to one of several things. In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]
Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.
Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].
If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.
Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.
Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.
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An accurate, self-loading .22 LR rifle, such as this Volquartsen, is our gun of choice for speed shooting with rimfire reactive targets.
Reactive targets offer “instant gratification” — with every hit your target moves, spins, or falls. Shooting reactive targets with a rimfire rifle is fun AND affordable. Times are a-changin’ — rimfire ammo prices have dropped dramatically, so you can now get very good rimfire ammunition for just four bucks a box, such as Norma Tac-22. That works out to a mere eight cents a round. At that price, you can afford to shoot every weekend.
Rimfire Biathlon Target — Tons of Fun RimfireSteel.com offers the unique Rimfire Steel Biathlon Target, a scaled-down Biathlon target designed for use at 50 feet for training and recreational shooting. This is one of our favorite rimfire targets. You can increase the level of challenge by moving it to 25 yards! Watch the video — it shows how to reset the five plates remotely with a lanyard.
Make Your Own Shooting Gallery with Reactive Rimfire Targets
For .22 LR fans, the folks at Action Target have created a whole series of steel rimfire targets. Much lighter than their centerfire counterparts, these rimfire targets are easier to transport and easier to set up. With this wide selection of reactive targets, you can create your own shooting gallery.
Rimfire Dueling Tree
Rimfire Spinning Jack
Rimfire Plate Rack
In this video, Michael Bane reviews Action Target’s line of rimfire targets, which includes plate racks, spinners, dueling trees, and more. As Michael explains: “This line of targets is very well thought out. For example — dueling trees are a lot of fun. But a centerfire dueling tree weighs a lot, it’s hard to cart it around. A rimfire dueling tree is easy to set up, easy to carry around.”
New PT Target “Walks” When Hit
Action Target has just released a new reactive target that doesn’t even need a stand or base. The patent-pending PT Twist rests on the ground, and flops over or “walks” when hit. Constructed from a single piece of 3/16″-thick A514B steel, the PT Twist has no welds or bolts to break or ricochet. Watch the PT Twist in action:
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“Involvement in the shooting sports develops … discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.” — Daisy President, Keith Higginbotham
Like many of our readers, your Editor got his first introduction to organized shooting sports through the Boy Scouts. At a Scouting summer camp I participated in competitive target shooting with both airguns and single-shot .22 LR rifles. That experience helped me earn my Rifle Shooting Merit Badge. That marksmanship badge remains one of the most popular non-mandatory Merit Badges. Since 2009, over 350,000 Rifle Shooting Merit Badges have been earned by young scouts.
Given the vital role Scouting plays in developing the next generation of shooters, we’re pleased that Daisy has agreed to partner with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This agreement makes Daisy the official airgun of the Boy Scouts of America.
This partnership makes Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun ranges available to the BSA’s 274 local councils as well as BSA camp sites across the country. Instructors emphasize shooting safety rules and teach basic marksmanship, including breath control, trigger pull, sight picture and more.
Daisy President Keith Higginbotham stated: “Teaching the basics of marksmanship and shooting safety… continues to be at the core of our mission. Hundreds of millions of adults have been positively affected by Scouting, learning to become responsible citizens, developing character and becoming self-reliant. Involvement in the shooting sports develops similar traits, such as discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.”
Daisy Inflatable BB Gun Range
Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun Ranges can be deployed at Scout camps, and as well as hunting and conservation events. These mobile ranges allow instructors to teach young poeple gun safety rules and marksmanship skills. When set-up, the range measures 22′ 5″ long by 9′ 6″ wide by 8′ 6″ tall.
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Savage has a new flagship field rifle — the Model 10 GRS, fitted with a superb GRS rifle stock from Norway. We shot this rifle at SHOT Show Media Day and liked it better than many of the metal-chassis rifles being marketed to the tactical/PRS market. The Model 10 GRS is very comfortable to shoot, and the inherent accuracy is impressive for a rifle with a $1449.00 MSRP and “street price” around $1250. Two chamberings are currently offered, a .308 Win with 20″ barrel and a 6.5 Creedmoor with 24″ barrel. Between those two choices, for tactical games, we’d certainly favor the 24″ 6.5 Creedmoor.
The Model 10 GRS features adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable length of pull. The grip area is very comfortable, filling the hand naturally. The stock has a nice surface texture providing good “traction” on forearm and grip. The stock is fairly light but very strong, being made from 15% fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65% glass bedding material.
Initial prototype Model 10 GRS rifles showed impressive accuracy (better than some of the metal modular rifles on the market). We attribute this to the fluted, heavy-contour button-rifled barrel and the user-adjustable AccuTrigger. We could get the trigger pull weight plenty low enough for tactical competition use.
Features & Benefits:
GRS adjustable stock made of 15 percent fiberglass-reinforced Durethan
User-adjustable Savage AccuTrigger
Slim grip and fore-end with textured rubber grip surfaces
Adjustable length-of-pull from 33.5 to 36.5 cm
5/8-24 threaded muzzle
Fluted heavy barrel
10-round AICS-compatible magazine
Flush cup sling loops plus sling mount for bipod use
Riflescopes are mechanical contraptions. One of the sad realities about precision shooting is that, sooner or later, you will experience a scope failure. If you’re lucky it won’t happen in the middle of a National-level competition. And hopefully the failure will be dramatic and unmistakable so you won’t spend months trying to isolate the issue. Unfortunately, scope problems can be erratic or hard to diagnose. You may find yourself with unexplained flyers or a slight degradation of accuracy and you won’t know how to diagnose the problem. And when a 1/8th-MOA-click scope starts failing, it may be hard to recognize the fault immediately, because the POI change may be slight.
When An Expensive Scope Goes Bad
A few seasons back, this editor had a major-brand 8-25x50mm scope go bad. How did I know I had a problem? Well the first sign was a wild “drop-down” flyer at a 600-yard match. After shooting a two-target relay, I took a look at my targets. My first 5-shot group had five shots, fairly well centered, in about 2.2″. Pretty good. Everything was operating fine. Then I looked at the second target. My eye was drawn to four shots, all centered in the 10 Ring, measuring about 2.4″. But then I saw the fifth shot. It was a good 18″ low, straight down from the X. And I really mean straight down — if you drew a plumb line down from the center of the X, it would pass almost through the fifth shot.
Is My Scope Actually Malfunctioning or Is This Driver Error?
That was disconcerting, but since I had never had any trouble with this scope before, I assumed it was a load problem (too little powder?), or simple driver error (maybe I flinched or yanked the trigger?). Accordingly, I didn’t do anything about the scope, figuring the problem was me or the load.
Even expensive scopes can fail, or start to perform erratically — and that can happen without warning, or for no apparent reason. Here are some signs that you may be having scope issues.
1. Click count has changed signficantly from established zero at known range.
2. Noticeably different click “feel” as you rotate turrets, or turrets feel wobbly.
3. Inability to set Adjustable Objective or side focus to get sharp target image.
4. Shot Point of Impact is completely different than click value after elevation/windage change. For example, when you dial 2 MOA “up” but you observe a 6 MOA rise in POI.
Problems Reappear — Huge POI Swings Affirm This Scope is Toast
But, at the next range session, things went downhill fast. In three shots, I did manage to get on steel at 600, with my normal come-up for that distance. Everything seemed fine. So then I switched to paper. We had a buddy in the pits with a walkie-talkie and he radioed that he couldn’t see any bullet holes in the paper after five shots. My spotter said he thought the bullets were impacting in the dirt, just below the paper. OK, I thought, we’ll add 3 MOA up (12 clicks), and that should raise POI 18″ and I should be on paper, near center. That didn’t work — now the bullets were impacting in the berm ABOVE the target frame. The POI had changed over 48″ (8 MOA). (And no I didn’t click too far — I clicked slowly, counting each click out loud as I adjusted the elevation.) OK, to compensate now I took off 8 clicks which should be 2 MOA or 12″. No joy. The POI dropped about 24″ (4 MOA) and the POI also moved moved 18″ right, to the edge of the target.
For the next 20 shots, we kept “chasing center” trying to get the gun zeroed at 600 yards. We never did. After burning a lot of ammo, we gave up. Before stowing the gun for the trip home, I dialed back to my 100-yard zero, which is my normal practice (it’s 47 clicks down from 600-yard zero). I immediately noticed that the “feel” of the elevation knob didn’t seem right. Even though I was pretty much in the center of my elevation (I have a +20 MOA scope mount), the clicks felt really tight — as they do when you’re at the very limit of travel. There was a lot of resistance in the clicks and they didn’t seem to move the right amount. And it seemed that I’d have four or five clicks that were “bunched up” with a lot of resistance, and then the next click would have almost no resistance and seem to jump. It’s hard to describe, but it was like winding a spring that erratically moved from tight to very loose.
At this point I announced to my shooting buddies: “I think the scope has taken a dump.” I let one buddy work the elevation knob a bit. “That feels weird,” he said: “the clicks aren’t consistent… first it doesn’t want to move, then the clicks jump too easily.”
Convinced that I had a real problem, the scope was packed up and shipped to the manufacturer. So, was I hallucinating? Was my problem really just driver error? I’ve heard plenty of stories about guys who sent scopes in for repair, only to receive their optics back with a terse note saying: “Scope passed inspection and function test 100%. No repairs needed”. So, was my scope really FUBAR? You bet it was. When the scope came back from the factory, the Repair Record stated that nearly all the internal mechanicals had been replaced or fixed: “Replaced Adjustment Elevation; Replaced Adjustment Windage; Reworked Erector System; Reworked Selector; Reworked Parallax Control.”
How to Diagnose Scope Problems
When you see your groups open up, there’s a very good chance this is due to poor wind-reading, or other “driver error”. But my experience showed me that sometimes scopes do go bad. When your accuracy degrades without any other reasonable explanation, the cause of the problem may well be your optics. Here are some of the “symptoms” of scope troubles:
1. Large shot-to-shot variance in Point of Impact with known accurate loads.
2. Uneven tracking (either vertical or horizontal).
3. Change of Point of Impact does not correspond to click inputs.
4. Inability to zero in reasonable number of shots.
5. Unexpected changes in needed click values (compared to previous come-ups).
6. Visible shift in reticle from center of view.
7. Changed “feel” or resistance when clicking; or uneven click-to-click “feel”.
8. Inability to set parallax to achieve sharpness.
9. Turrets or other controls feel wobbly or loose.
10. Internal scope components rattle when gun is moved.
Source of Problem Unknown, but I Have a Theory
Although my scope came with a slightly canted reticle from the factory, it had otherwise functioned without a hitch for many years. I was able to go back and forth between 100-yard zero and 600-yard zero with perfect repeatability for over five years. I had confidence in that scope. Why did it fail when it did? My theory is side-loading on the turrets. I used to carry the gun in a thick soft case. I recently switched to an aluminum-sided hard case that has pretty dense egg-crate foam inside. I noticed it took some effort to close the case, though it was more than big enough, width-wise, to hold the gun. My thinking is that the foam wasn’t compressing enough, resulting in a side-load on the windage turret when the case was clamped shut. This is just my best guess; it may not be the real source of the problem. Remember, as I explained in the beginning of this story, sometimes scopes — just like any mechanical system — simply stop working for no apparent reason.
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This stunning flame-painted PPC belongs to Chris from Australia. This rifle features a Stiller Viper action, Speedy (Robertson) BRX stock, and Maddco (Australian) 14-twist barrel chambered in 6PPC.
In our Shooters’ Forum you’ll find a thread in which readers can post photos of their “pride and joy” — their favorite rifle. You’ll find a wide range of guns, from “big boomers” to .17-caliber varminters. Here are some of our favorite entries in the “Pride and Joy” Gallery.
The Bear’s Barbed-Wire Barnard
BarryO, aka ‘the Blue-eyed Bear’, posted his beautiful 6mm Dasher, with its unique barbed wire 3D finish. (There’s a story behind that design.) This rifle was smithed by John King in Montana, with stock bedding work by Leo Anderson. The gun features a Barnard ‘P’ action (with trigger), and 28″ Broughton 5C fluted barrel with VAIS muzzle brake. The Barnard sits in a Tom Manners carbon fiber BR stock decorated with amazing graphics by Mad Shadow Custom Paint.
Sebastian’s Radical Swallowtail 6PPC
Sebastian Lambang is the designer and builder of SEB Coaxial Rests. He’s a smart, creative guy, so you knew when he designed a short-range benchrest stock it would be something special. It needed to be lightweight, yet very rigid. Using “out of the box” thinking, Seb employs a truss-style structure to provide great strength with minimal weight. The rear section is equally radical. There are two splayed “keels” in the rear, forming what this Editor calls a “swallowtail” rear design. Others have called it a “catamaran buttstock.” Below is a side-view of the prototype SEB stock before painting.
Brad’s 6CM Long-Range Match Rifle
Chambered in the 6mm Competition match cartridge, this handsome rig features a Surgeon RSR Action, Bartlein Barrel, and LRB stock. Barrel work was done by Chad Dixon at LongRifles, Inc. and paint by AT Custom Painting.
Varmint Special with Figured Walnut Stock
Here’s a handsome varminter with a beautifully-figured walnut stock. This is one of three rifles Forum Member Dan Hall posted in the Pride and Joy thread.
A Trio of Pealescent Bench Guns
DixiePPC served up not one but THREE pretty bench rigs, all with pearlescent paint jobs. We’d be proud to own three eye-catching rifles like that. Click the image to see a full-screen version.
Zebra-Skinned Match Rifle
And here is Mark Walker’s amazing Zebra-skin BR rifle. With that wild-looking paint job, this rifle turns heads whenever Mark brings it to the range…
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